Austria's Marcel Hirscher celebrates winning the men's slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships in Are, Sweden, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

Hirscher wins slalom, leads Austrian clean sweep

February 17, 2019 - 6:56 am

ARE, Sweden (AP) — One of the best runs of Marcel Hirscher's career allowed the Austrian great to coast to a third slalom title at the skiing world championships on Sunday.

Hirscher suggested after the race this could be his last ever worlds — and if that is the case, he has gone out on a high.

He obliterated the field with an almost flawless first run, which gave him a lead of 0.56 seconds from Alexis Pinturault. No other skier was within a second of him.

That meant Hirscher could be more circumspect in the second leg, especially after a slip from Pinturault toward the end of his run knocked the Frenchman out of medal contention.

Hirscher got down safely, posting only the 25th fastest time for the second leg, to lead an Austrian 1-2-3 ahead of Michael Matt and Marco Schwarz.

Matt, whose brother is former Olympic and world slalom champion Mario Matt, was 0.65 seconds behind and Schwarz a further 0.11 adrift.

Hirscher joined another Austrian, Toni Sailer from the late 1950s, as the only male skiers to win seven career golds at the worlds.

Winning three slaloms matches the record of the great Ingemar Stenmark.

Hirscher has been suffering with a cold this week. He was second to Henrik Kristoffersen in the giant slalom on Friday.

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